General Overview

Dental assistants provide chair-side support to dentists. They work in the dental department of hospitals and clinics where their work includes setting up examination rooms, preparing and sterilizing instruments, preparing teeth molds and managing dental records. They are also instrumental during dental procedures since they need to take dental x-rays and ensure timely development of them.

Dental assistants not only provide chair-side assistance but they also manage the administrative side of a dental facility. This includes greeting patients and providing them information, taking and recording patient histories, managing records and explaining dental procedures to patients. They are also instrumental in putting patients at ease before a dental procedure in order to ensure that they feel comfortable during a dental procedure. Another important duty of a dental assistant is to educate patients about appropriate dental hygiene practices.

To for a job as a dental assistant, it is important that a candidate is registered as a dental assistant in the state that he or she intends to work in. If you possess all the qualifications of a dental assistant, you may be interested in the following interview questions and answers that you may come across at an interview for this position.

Dental Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

How do you feel you qualify for the position of a dental assistant?
I am a registered dental assistant with the State of New Hampshire. I have worked as a dental assistant at Dental Habitat for three years which has prepared me well to work with a renowned dental facility like Dental Aesthetics.

What are your strengths?
I am highly dependable, efficient, quick learner and excellent at providing effective customer service. I have extensive experience in 4 – 6 handed dentistry. I work for getting the job done accurately.

What is 4-handed dentistry?
It is a method in which a dental assistant works closely with the dentist on the procedures being done in the mouth of a patient. This method decreases fatigue and improves the success of dental procedures.

What is 6-handed dentistry?
When 2 dental assistants help a dentist, it is called 6-handed dentistry.

What measures should a dental assistant take before a patient arrives?
A Dental Assistant should accurately review patient’s medical/dental history for assisting the dentist. Changes in the medical history should be monitored. The appointments should be managed and the payment history should also be reviewed accordingly.

What initial procedures should a dental assistant need to undertake when a patient is seated in front of the doctor?
Adjust the seat for the patients, set up aprons, put a new glass of water, offer napkins, arranging special instruments (if required) and the medicines, taking and recording patient’s blood pressure, etc. Afterwards, hand over the patients file to the dentist and if the patient is not new, brief the doctor about the progress or the problems the patient is facing

What were the typical tasks that you performed in the role of a dental assistant?
I was responsible for both procedural and administrative support at Dental Habitat. From taking and recording patients’ information to providing support to complex dental procedures, I was expected to manage it all.

What do you feel is the most important job of a dental assistant at a dental facility? Why?
While I feel that every task that a dental assistant performs is important, making patients feel comfortable is probably the most important. This is because a patient who is at ease is easy to handle. Equally important is sterilizing instruments because infection control is vital to managing dental procedures effectively.

Do you have any dental laboratory experience? 
Yes, I do. I can effectively and accurately make casts and crowns. I can also make retainers and both temporary and permanent braces.

How much chair-side experience do you have with children? How did you handle them?
Out of every 10 dental patients at Dental Habitat, there were 2 children. I found it easy to handle children during a dental procedure because I can make them comfortable by diverting their attention to stories and jokes.

Do you hold an active WA dental assistant registration?
Yes! In addition, I possess an EFDA certification, OSHA training and an Intraoral Radiology Certification as well.

Are you familiar with the machines used for equipment sterilization and the process?
Yes! There are different machines used for this purpose and they have to be operated according to their operation manual. The machines need to be maintained and tested on regular basis. The dental equipment needs to be sterilized daily.

How would you manage clinical cleanliness and infection control?
The clinic’s standard procedures for infection control should be followed and taken care of while operating any/all equipment. The instruments should be properly sterilized, the disposable items should be properly disposed of e.g. breaking off injections and sending paper waste for recycling as well as managing all kinds of waste disposals, following appropriate control procedures for radiography, maintaining clean and sanitized water supply etc.

Are you familiar with x-ray machines’ functioning?
Yes. The IR certification and my previous job have allowed me to gain hands on experience in radiology/radiography. I can not only operate the machines but also handle exposing and imaging.

Can you work patiently under stressful situations and in emergencies? How would you manage emergencies?
I can work calmly in hectic situations. While following the standard operating procedures, I am able to prioritize tasks according to the emergency’s severity and contact the doctor for specific instructions.

Can you work on extended shifts in the absence of other dental assistants?
I am willing to work overtime, in nights and weekends as well.

Have you carried out any phlebotomy activities during your previous job?
Yes but limited to dental treatments.